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Smooth FM drops Michael Bublé for Sam Smith in new brand campaign

Smooth FM’s long-standing brand ambassador Michael Bublé has been replaced, with award-winning British artist Sam Smith to become the face of the brand instead.

Bublé became the ambassador for Smooth when it was first created by Nova Entertainment – then DMG Radio – almost six years ago.

The Canadian jazz singer continued his association with Smooth in subsequent campaigns and guest hosted his own weekend shows.

However he will now be replaced by contemporary artist Smith, who performed at Nova’s Red Room earlier this year.

Smooth FM currently broadcasts in Sydney and Melbourne. In the latest survey, the stations posted shares of 8.5% and 10.3% respectively.

Smith will now spearhead the next marketing push by the network, which seeks broader brand awareness.

The advertisement is set in a hotel, where a woman becomes frustrated with the noise from a neighbouring room. When she goes to tell them to quieten down Sam Smith appears, singing his hit Baby You Drive Me Crazy. After asking Smith to be quiet, she returns to her room to listen to Smooth FM, which is playing Smith’s One Last Song, from his most recent album.

Smooth FM’s new work is created by Ted Horton’s Big Red, the same agency behind the previous ads, and will launch this Sunday. It is supported by a widespread outdoor advertising push.

The new advertisement is a spin-off the original work with Bublé:

Chief marketing and digital officer, Tony Thomas, has previously described Horton as an ‘advertising genius’.

On the launch of the new campaign, Thomas said Smith was a “dream come true” and “absolutely the right fit”.

He told Mumbrella it was time to find a new ambassador who fits the brand personality “right now” and while Bublé was timeless, Smith would amplify the brand. It marks the first major change to ambassador talent for Smooth FM. The network briefly did some work with Spandau Ballet but returned to Bublé as it just kept working, he said.

“Michael Bublé played that role incredibly and we obviously opened and launched the station with him and played his track – it was the first track to be played on the station,” he said.

But he added: “We are playing a lot more current music from Sam Smith.”

One of Smooth FM’s outdoor assets

Thomas said other than the odd tweaks by group programme director Paul Jackson, the format remains exactly as it was, but he put major emphasis on being a “soft adult contemporary” station. Smith fits that mould, he said.

“He’s got such wide appeal. We actually saw that from our Red Room at the Opera House earlier in the year. The demand and the interest in that event came from a really broad cross section.

“For Smooth FM to deliver the overall share it does, it has to appeal as a station. That for us means that Sam Smith is the perfect ambassador.”

Thomas said should the latest campaign be successful, it would work as a “longer-term play”.

But unlike other radio advertisements, Smooth FM tends to focus more on the music talent that radio talent. Thomas argued Smooth FM is the sum of the parts: music, brand image and presenters.

“We actually feel like when we find an artist that represents the music genre, but also personality and the brand, it’s just a really nice way of capturing the whole essence of the brad in one hit.

“It’s really treating Smooth FM like a brand that has many components to it rather than centred on just driving awareness of a particular show presenter. We know that formula is successful,” he said.

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